Magazine Makeovers

Can we glean anything, trendwise, by the newly re-designed New York Times Magazine and Newsweek? They are, afterall, two iconic brands in magazine journalism. However, the two brands couldn’t be more a study in contrasts, with the NYT going for a monochrome retro look — its focus and emphasis on content and Newsweek going full glossy — its focus, no doubt on advertising dollars and making Newsweek feel hip, classy and relevent again.

Still, it’s interesting to look at them both in terms of how iconic brands attempt to rebrand and relaunch.

Some are saying, dismissively, that NYT aped the look and feel of Monocle, which, really there are worse inspirations to draw from when it comes to magazine design. It’s not exactly amazing, but I like that the focus is on content more than anything else. It tells me they still care about intelligence, about the written word, about reporting, and nothing else should stand in the way of highlighting that.

As for Newsweek, well, The Awl puts it best, “it’s like soaking in a nice warm bath of a comfortable yesterday—a happy, mature place of sort-of kind-of powerful people (the kind of people who have “power” at Michael’s restaurant, or certain overpriced bistros in D.C.) explaining things simply and calmly (and sometimes correctly), with the occasional stroppy quote on the big proposition of last week. This is going to electrify the waiting rooms of dentists all over Scarsdale.”

But. It’s still nice looking. Doesn’t mean I’m going to subscribe anytime soon, but it’s certainly feels classy.


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